Russia recruiting Australian cyclist for Olympic team

Australia's Shane Perkins competes in a track cycling men's sprint, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. (Sergey Ponomarev/AP)

MOSCOW — Russia is hoping to recruit former world champion track cyclist Shane Perkins of Australia in a push for medals at the 2020 Olympics.

Perkins says in a Facebook statement that he "will now be riding for Russia," alongside a picture of himself in Russian team gear. He adds that the "Russian Cycling Federation has given me another opportunity to chase my dreams of Olympic representation in Tokyo 2020."

However, Russia says the switch isn’t yet complete.

RCF general secretary Yuri Kucheryavy tells Russia’s R-Sport news agency that Perkins was training with Russia’s sprinters recently and "we’re interested in him for the team sprint, where we need a third person," as well as the keirin, but "we still need to sort everything out officially."

Perkins has won two gold medals at the track world championships and Olympic individual sprint bronze in 2012.